Friday chat: A few ideas on encouraging kids to read

October 23, 2015

how to encourage kids to read more

I’ve often wondered whether reading is a nature or nurture thing.  Are some kids born to be avid readers while others naturally shun books or can good reading habits be instilled in to kids?  I don’t know the scientific answer to this but I personally believe that kids can be encouraged to enjoy and love books.  And once you reach that magical place where you can’t live without books, there is no going back.  I’ve become conscious of this recently as I can see that Anya enjoys reading but she won’t go and pick up a book herself and start reading too often.  So as we’re on half-term holidays and we have more time, I’ve been thinking of ways to encourage her to read more.  My aim isn’t to develop her reading skills as that will naturally happen, but my goal  is very much to get her to fall in love with books.  I’ve been trying a few things and I thought I would share some of my tips on encouraging kids to read more:

1.  Lead by example – there is no better way.  Kids don’t do what they are told, they are much more likely to do what they see you do.  Since it’s the holidays, Anya’s bedtime is much later than normal (no routines here in the holidays!) so I sometimes go to bed with her and I lie next to her and read.  I read every single night anyway but she doesn’t see me do it so the holidays seem like the perfect opportunity to show her.  Now I’ve noticed that she asks if she can read too and often will get herself a book.

2.  We’ve started visiting the local and school library where Anya can look at the books and she will always sit down and start reading.  The best bit about the library is of course that she gets to choose which books she wants to take home and that encourages her to really check out the books on offer.  

3.  We spend a lot of time in bookshops – Even though bookshops are so much rarer these days (makes me so sad) you can usually find one.  We have a Waterstones near us so often go for lunch and then spend the afternoon at Waterstones.  It helps that our Waterstones has an area dedicated to kids with seating and lots of toys and books.  I could easily while away a whole day in a book shop and I’m glad Anya is enjoying spending time there too.

4. Read to them – Every.single.night.  No exceptions.  Of course we all have nights where we don’t feel like reading or have other pressing stuff to do or are just too tired.  But if you make it an absolute must do, you will do it every night.  I love our night reading time where Anya gets to choose the books, although to keep my sanity intact (at least what’s left of it) I have a rule of not reading the same book twice in the same week!  Besides, the years of reading to kids are so short so why not make the most of it.

5. Ask them to read to you – once your kids are at a reading age, they’re going to love reading to you.  Kids love pretending to be the adult so it becomes a little game.  Once in a while I ask Anya to read to me and she loves it.  And not just to me – when she has younger friends and cousins over, if I suggest it, she will happily read to them.  And when the older ones come, they love reading to her.  

6. Buy as many books as you can and involve your kids in the choosing of the books .  Even though kids books can be expensive, I would much rather spend the money on books than on those ridiculously priced kids magazines or cheap plastic toys.  I’ve started setting up a wish list on amazon for Anya and we go through the list together and she chooses the books she wants.  If you’re looking for recommendations, I usually share the best kids books I come across here, so you can browse my book section if you’d like to.

7.  Last, buy different kinds of books as you never know what will appeal most.  While fabulous fictional stories are a given, there are so many other types of books out there.  From biographies (there are some fab ones for kids out there), atlases, kids poetry books, art books, even joke books – the list goes on.  One of my absolute must have books is this kids atlas.  It’s something Anya keeps referring back to and really enjoys exploring and discovering more places.  And we have a Roald Dahl joke book which I think any kid would devour!

These are a few things I’m doing to encourage reading but I’d love to hear your tips too.

Have a wonderful weekend x

{photo by ebabee, t-shirts by wild boys & girls}

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  • Honest mum

    Love this, abhor those mags with rubbish toys and like you want to encourage reading lots. Both boys adore their books and we often pop to the library too. I love sharing the books I loved as a child with them too and of course discovering new wonderful books. I actually think the greatest gift for any child is a book. Thank you for always inspiring wonderful reads for us too x

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you lovely – I couldn’t agree more – the greatest gift is a book. I very often gift books to Anya’s friends – you can never have too many. x

  • International Elf Service

    These are all really good tips. I’m the same as you – I love reading and really want to encourage our kids to love it too. I don’t really read to the older kids now but it’s important in so many ways, so thank you for the reminder!

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you. Even though some days I have so much else to do, I still read to Anya. But mostly I love our reading together time – I know the day will come quite soon when she will tell me she can read by herself 🙁

  • veronika

    thank you for the Amazing Body Detective tip, my daughter – Anya:) loves reading loads as well and the Atlas book…she used to be obsessed with it, still likes it now. Have you seen other books from the same people – House? Anya has been reading mostly herself now 🙁 and her favourite is anything by Edit Blython.

    • ebabee likes

      Pleasure! Yes, I know lots of their books and love them all. We can’t stop buying kids books here and I am always looking out for new and unusual books. So glad you liked the Amazing Body detectives – really fun book. And two Anya’s – great minds think alike 😉

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